As we grow spiritually, I believe the Lord wants to teach us to learn to look to Him and keep our eyes there. That's where we find peace. We all go through stuff, for as long as we live on this earth, we all will be going through different situations and circumstances. That's life. But each of us can choose what we will focus on in those circumstances.
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The word "Looking" in the greek means to turn the eyes away from other things.
We are made up of spirit, soul and body. Each part has gates. The body has the physical gates of the eyes and ears, our smell, taste, touch and feel. If you were to stay in this phase, you would allow yourself to be affected always by what you see and hear. You would see a car accident and it would cause you to be distraught and distracted throughout your week. Our next phase is the soul gates which includes the will to rebel or obey, our emotions, imagination, our reason, conscience and subconscious. The subconscious is like a hard drive which stores all the past memories. Our conscience directs us to choose right from wrong. And if we stayed here and for instance were led by our imagination and emotions, and not by the Word of God, we would live our lives up and down, and soon be controlled by fear in every path. There is so much about the soul. But I just want to give you a quick overview.
But then lastly is our spirit. And the gates of our spirit are gates like worship, prayer, revelation, faith and hope, intuition and the fear of God, the reverence of God. This is where we were made to rule from. But in order to do this we renew our minds on God's Word, putting His thoughts, His Word into our minds, drenching it continually. This strengthens and grows us, bringing stability and a solid foundation to stand in any storm. We build a deep relationship with the Father God, and with our brother Jesus who is our friend and our husband, our King and our Lord. We soon come to know the Holy Spirit who comforts us, teaches us, leads us to be drawn to the Father, showing us all that the Father wants to say to us.
Things happen and disappointments will be, as long as we live here for these last days on earth. But as we look to Jesus and keep our faces turned there, He will calm us with His strength and love. And we will not need to be afraid of one thing, not one thing. Focused on His eyes, He will direct us and keep us steady.
An personal example that I can give you is some years ago when I had to go to the dentist. Like most people, it is not a favorite place to go for me at all! But I had to go, and I never expected to be in that chair for 4 hours!! With 2 root canals being done, so painful that I wanted to scream. The Lord was teaching me this exact thing I am telling you. He ministered to me so that day. I would not have been able to go through that time in the chair without Him. I saw His face in my mind and imagination. I only focused on His face so loving and so strong. He spoke to me in my spirit and encouraged me to stay on Him. What was 4 hours seemed much shorter because of looking to Jesus.
He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. John 15:5
But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. I Cor.6:17
We become aware of His presence. He lives in us and goes wherever we go. So why not be more aware of that? A catholic monk who lived in the 1600's and lived in a Carmelite monastery in Paris, perfected this idea of living in the presence of Jesus. He had simple and one would think monotonous jobs in the monastery like washing dishes (one of my favorites) and fixing peoples shoes. People would come into his presence and right away would be in awe, for they would feel God's presence all around. When he washed the dishes, he would let every simple act give glory to God. There is a book out about His life and his quotes called "Practicing the presence of God."
I have learned and am still learning to do this. I am the dishwasher in my house, and each night there are plenty of dishes to wash and floors to mop and so on and so on. So as I come upon this each day, instead of dreading it and looking at the dirt, I look inward to Jesus. He is the one who became a servant on our behalf. I slow down and focus there, humbling myself, instead of complaining. It's not easy, and I didn't say it was. But we practice and practice makes perfect right? I encourage you to do this and to let His Spirit lead and guide you. As we do, we will see from our spirit and not through our physical eyes.
I love it when God confirms things that we are learning. For me it shows me I'm on the right track. So today is Feb. 27, 1918 and I just happened to check out today's devotion out of 'Jesus Calling". I would like to post that devotion to end this post.
Keep your eyes on me! Waves of adversity are washing over you, and you feel tempted to give up. As your circumstances consume more and more of your attention, you are losing sight of Me. Yet I am with you always, holding you by your right hand. I am fully aware of your situation, and I will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to bear.
Your gravest danger is worrying about tomorrow. If you try to carry tomorrow's burdens today, you will stagger under the load and eventually fall flat. You must discipline yourself to live within the boundaries of today. It is in the present moment that I walk close to you, helping you carry your burdens. Keep Your focus on My Presence in the present. Jesus Calling Devotional by Sarah Young 2016
I know that is speaking to someone reading this and you are being so ministered to right now. This ministered to me as well. Keep your eyes on Jesus my friend, and you will be okay.
Desiring change in 2018? You don't have to go it alone. The Lord is your helper. When I have set some new goals and tried my best to keep them, I would realize finally that I left something out, when my goals failed. I forgot to ask the Lord for His help. I forgot to welcome and include His Word. Take for instance a very popular and familiar goal that many of us pick the beginning of the year, like "Losing weight," or "Getting back to regular exercise and healthy eating." Behind the scenes are the lies of the enemy that come against us so that these goals will for sure be sabotaged. One of his oldest tricks is that the enemy likes to make you think that his lies are your actual thoughts. That they come from you, and you only. And sometimes these lies and accusations go way back into our childhood. Remember that the Bible says When he lies, it is perfectly normal; for he is the father of liars. John 8:44 The Living Bible
It's difficult to begin something new when you have the old ringing in your ears all the time. Ever hear some of these common accusations?
You never succeed at this, you always blow it. This is for other people, not you.
This is the way you are, face it. It's too hard, there's no way you can do it.
You are too weak. You are nobody special, give up
The devil uses many of the same lies on lots of us. He has no new tricks, just uses the old ones over and over. Remember David and Goliath? The people were afraid of the giant, so they just assumed that they couldn't take him. And yes, they were right! On their own they couldn't. But we have God, and if we are believers then Christ lives in us, and we have every right to use and stand on His Word.
So before you try to conquer those goals for 2018 all by yourself, write out the lies that you hear, that try to defeat you before you start. Write them down. And I suggest that you do what is called a LIE BUST. For every lie go and look into God's Word and find the truth against that lie. Now you will have some ammunition. Write them side by side if you like.
Reject the old lies, and focus looking onto the truth. Here is an example:
This is this the way you are, face it. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away; behold, all things are
become new. 2 Cor. 5:17
Your nobody special, give up. For I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Ps 139:14
Who cares about debt, buy it! The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. Ps 23:1
Each morning, look at the truth, and picture your goals, see yourself achieving them with the help of Jesus. Ask Him to help you. Listen to yourself speak life. "These are my new habits for 2018. I will..."
Reject the lies and receive His truth over you. If you are a believer, then you are His child. Do you think that God the Father would not help his children? Of course He would. We must have simple faith and believe and trust Him. This is what you call a LIE BUST.
We must find the Bible verses to confront the lies and the old mindsets that we have had. If we don't do anything different, we won't have anything different. We must be sick and tired of the same old way. God is our greatest cheerleader and is more than willing to help us. The problem is no asks in faith. Begging and crying and whining is not asking at all. Jesus said,
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
This makes you an overcomer! You have an overcomer living on the inside of you, Jesus. And He has made you an overcomer, a new creation. Your spirit is one with His spirit. When you look at your list, you should look at it with sheer joy, not fearful doubt. Joy knowing that he is on your side and you got this. Especially as you lean on him, His Word and His strength. Then when the achievement comes, all the glory will go to God! I'm not gonna listen to the old lies anymore. I am gonna listen to the truth. I am gonna think on the truth and see the truth and even speak the truth. It might not happen overnight, but it will happen. And knowing I'm not alone working on my goals is quite encouraging. We are loved and not forgotten.
For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. John 16:27
I'm so glad we don't have to wait till we get to heaven to enjoy the company of Jesus, be refreshed in the presence of the Holy Spirit, and sit with the Father as He lovingly comforts us here on this earth, as we live in these bodies. Of course we learn to do this by faith. But by His goodness, He allows us to have these wonderful life changing experiences. Because He knows we need them in order to go through each day. He is our source of life. He is the one who fills our gas tank as it were. We run best on His love. And when we are lacking it, we desperately know it! We're grouchy, testy, there is a lack of peace, and we just know that something is missing. The flow of God's river of love is what is missing. This only comes by us spending time with the Lord.
In the same way you need quality time with your
spouse. When it's missing and you have your priorities off, you begin to know that something is off. But when you spend time together, talk, love, laugh or cry, there is a sweet nurturing that takes place, a filling up. You give some of you, and they give some of them. We feel taken care of and our love tank is good. It's the way God wired us. We need each other. Well, you start from the top. We need Him, and we need Him first. He has to be top priority. It's where we get our daily wisdom from, for all aspects of our life.
Sometimes I need a little help, and so I put some soft worship music in the background, even light a candle. I make sure I have some quiet time, and sometimes it's late at night, or early in the morning. I may read a bit out of the Bible to get my mind on Him, or just start talking and humbling myself, thanking God. Then I just talk to Him. But sometimes, much of the time, I just sit still, put my mind on Him. Imagine His presence all around the room, in me even. I imagine His arms out wide and I see myself hugging Jesus, or the Father, or the Holy Spirit who comes in as the breath and wind of God. I close my eyes and make myself focus all my attention on Him. He deserves all my attention, for He gives me all of his. I then drink of His peace. I breath Him in. The biggest thing I do is to enter into His rest, by faith.
There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. (my note: many times we stop here, but it continues on...)
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Hebrews 4:9-13
Three things I would like to point to here. 1. There is a "rest" for us. 2. The Word is also a person, Jesus. 3. Jesus is the one who did the work, and who does the work in us.
We try and we do and we strive, for what? To try some more. Just throw your hands up in the air, get your white flag out and wave it high, and say "I give, I can't do it anymore." Cast your cares on Him, for He really does care for you. He is the teacher. We are the follower. We are His workmanship. And when we work, He stops. When we rest, He works.
I receive of His love and His wonderful wisdom. Why is it so hard for us to receive? We have to learn to receive. We are told so much to give, give, give. How can we give if we're empty? This is the time to get filled up. And this source, this life giving river of life, just keeps on flowing, unstoppable it is always gushing from the throne of God. Just as in our physical body, we need water to live. When we are thirsty, we must drink water. So the same spiritually. When we are thirsty, we only can get the true water from true source!
Jesus said " Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matt. 11:28-30
The offer is to the ones who need it. The ones who labor and are heavy laden. This means to carry a heavy load. You would know if this is you. There have been many times when this is me. Jesus is so easy in speaking to us, so simple and to the point. He doesn't say to make a quick trip to our local bookstore and spend good money to buy a self help book. He doesn't even say to pray 3 hail Mary's and kneel for 1 hour. No religion, no tricks, no ulterior motives. Just 'Come.' We are the ones who make it so hard. We are the ones who think we need to do things, do work, do penance etc. He says that He is the one who can give you rest. He is the way, the truth and the life! SHALOM comes from Him! He is SHALOM.
I heard a saying that when we worry, we are robbing ourselves of the strength that we need for that day. He created us. And He created us with certain abilities as humans. But in all reality, worry is not one of them. Worry and stress are negative and when we choose to yield and give into them, it makes us sick physically. We know this. We have all seen it happen to people. It brings ulcers, headaches, lack of sleep, fear and much more. If we really knew He was our Shepherd and as Psalm 23 says "I shall not lack," would we see the need to still worry and stress? Can we learn to roll the cares onto Him and let Him carry our heavy load? I believe so. Think about it. We practiced the other way already. We learned to take the cares and worries and stress. We are actually pretty good at that. You might say even professional!
So we have to learn a new way, retraining our mind, by renewing our mind on the Word of God. Believing with simple faith that this Word is for us, and then doing what it says. Even if you can't see Jesus, you still can pray right? First step is to come. So I pray and tell Jesus. "Here I am Lord. I come to you now. I bring these cares, for I am tired and weary. I have been carrying this heavy load, and I am so done." Now receive of His rest. Take a deep breath and imagine yourself giving your heavy load to Him, even placing it on His back, because that is exactly what He did.
But thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for that hast cast all my sins behind thy back. Isaiah 38:17
Yes, to worry is a sin. It's taking your focus away from His provision. Why are we worrying when He took all of our grief on the cross? We naturally worry. Now continue with the exercise and see yourself holding your cares and place them in His hands. Watch as Jesus in turn gives you His peace. Even picture His hand on your shoulder as He lovingly looks at you and smiles. Receive of His peace.
A yoke is wooden contraption, a collar that fits on an ox in order to plow the field. Two oxen are attached to the yoke. It is designed for two, to keep them together. But what they used to do is put a younger ox when a more experienced one, in order to train them. Well you could think of it this way. We have been carrying a heavy yoke all by ourself, and we are the younger, inexperienced ox. Jesus is the strong one, the teacher. He doesn't worry. He knows who His Father is. He knows He is God's Son and that the devil is a liar that has been defeated. He never lets care take up rent space in His head. And He is here and wants to teach us this. He wants us to link up with Him and learn from Him. For His burden is light and His yoke is easy.
To make a new habit requires repetition. I encourage you to think on the above scriptures, and go back to them, to keep on thinking about them. Let them wash over your mind and your thoughts. And when a care or thought of worry comes, speak on purpose to yourself and say, "NO. I'm not going that route anymore. I want to go God's way. Lord, I give you this care, and I take your peace. I let go of it."
I have had to this many times. But the more you do it, the easier it will be to spot when the opportunity of worry is coming your way, knocking on your front door. We are the only ones who can slam the door of worry and care shut!!.
We can live a carefree life! It is possible. Jesus does want to give us rest and refreshment. But He needs our cooperation. If He asks us to do something, then we know that He also gave us the ability to do so.
God's PEACE is MINE!!! I'm TAKING it!!
I thought I would take this time to share a bit about our inmate ministry which we call SPEIRO. It stands for Sowing into Prisoners Eternity In Righteous Obedience. The Lord gave me this name some years back before we began sending anything to inmates. It is actually a greek word 'speiro' which means 'to sow.' And really, thats why we are called Heart Sower Ministries.
Anyhow, I wanted to explain that info to you. Because I know that this corresponding and writing to inmates is close to the heart of God, well, it means that its close to my heart as well. I do it because it pleases the Father. They may go in as hardened criminals, murderers and drug dealers, but on this end, we treat them as God sees them, lost treasures that are being found, needing the love of a good Father who is very willing to adopt them and show them His heart. People sometimes ask, "How can you do this, aren't you afraid." I think to myself, it's a special grace God gave me, for I don't see the bad stuff. On the other hand I don't ignore it either. We have acquired lots of rules in all of our writing to the prisoners. We have a PO Box, we do not send pictures, no money, no stamps, no gifts, except the books or Bibles and studies we send. We even use pen names for protection. Certain things we don't talk about in our letters, and we stay on the spiritual side of things. The whole reason we started the studies, is because we didn't want to only write pen pal letters. No, they need God's Word. That is what will change them. And we have seen a lot of great changes. Even if our hands are sore from writing, we will not stop, and that's happened too. There are 3 of us that write and send studies. And out of over 200 that have ever written to us, right now we have a steady influx of about 80 or so that write us regularly. It's a big deal for them to get a letter. Honestly, it's like Christmas. Many have no family or friends left. They destroyed them all. And many that we have are lifers.
So let me tell you of some of the gems I personally have. I had a writer and editor inmate who did edit our Bible Studies and was faithful to do it to the end, refused anything in return. A strong Christian. Yes, there are a lot of strong Christians in prisons. Many became saved and grew strong even in prison. I also have a favorite who is 74 yrs old and in for life, who writes beautiful Bible studies himself. His letters are full of peace and contentment. He loves Jesus so much. He always speaks of how grateful he is to the Lord. Amazing man. I have a few messianic Jews as well. That is a Jew who who has accepted Jesus as his Savior and Messiah. One imparticular is studying to become a Rabbi. He teaches studies within the prison. He likes to teach me about the Torah. They don't say 'Jesus,' but call Him 'Ha Shem,' which means 'The Name.' They feel it is too holy to say Jesus or God. Even though they are saved, they still carry many of the Jewish ways. We have a few artists as well, that you may have already seen in our section which shows their art. Beautiful work.
I have an inmate who has a ministry. In fact, many have ministries and go to College by correspondence. Some cook, work in the infirmary, many have small jobs that keep them busy, and may only pay $1.00. But it keeps them useful and out of trouble. This particular inmate, collects Biblical articles and studies, writings from other Christian inmates and sends them to his mom on the outside. She in turn compiles them into a newsletter, and then sends them nationwide to many inmates between 600-800. They have put our info into their newsletter a few times, and thats one source where we get our addresses from. Their newsletter is called 'Fishers of Men.' We have poets, writers, cooks, nurses, preachers and the list goes on.
We always send an encouraging note or letter each time with their studies. We get a lot of questions about God. It is such a joy to get a letter that is full of hunger for God. A person can't fake this. We know when there is a phony who just wants a girl friend. And a few times we have cut off any correspondence because of that. But for the most part all is well, and it is so worth the small bit of agro or difficult letters that we may receive. Remember that diamonds are not found in clean caves. There is dirt and dust, filth and scraping to get to the rocks that will one day be carved into beautiful priceless gems that have a high worth. Jesus doesn't mind the dirt. He cleans them up with His blood and His precious Word. The presence of our Holy God is not afraid of going into a dark and small, enclosed and smelly jail cell. His light changes things, and it changes people who's heart is open anywhere, and anytime. Each name and address is valuable, and you just never know. My friend one of my writers, who calls herself 'Paris' just recently got a letter saying that he didn't know where she got his address from. He was not into God anymore. He believed God forgot about Him. Well he ended up doing the study. We sent him a book, 'The Father Loves.' Then next letter she got was like night and day! He did a 180 turn around. Come to find out that he was a preacher who had strayed. He was quoting scripture left and right and thanked her for reaching out. Because of her writing and studies, he said it caused him to have an encounter with God. He actually felt the warmth and presence of the Almighty God in his cell. He then rededicated his life back to God, and is excited to live for Him again. I think the biggest thing is that he knows God is real, and didn't forget about him. So that one name, that one address can make such a difference. God sees them!
God is so good, so loving and so kind!
Remember the petal game? He loves me, he loves me not. And you always hoped that the very last one would be the good one. It was a chance that it might not be. But the daisy God gives us is always and only love. If you miss it and make a mistake, He loves you. If you do something not so nice, intentionally, He loves you. He only has one answer and it is always, only Agape love. It doesn't ever change. It's like a wonderfully broken record. And this record you want to play over and over again. A record that brings healing and refreshment to the hungry listening ears.
On our own, we don't and can't love like this. And so we surmise that no one loves like this, not even God, and we may even think, especially NOT God! We think, if anything, He loves RULES! One day we will see, and one day we will know. But for now, we have His Word, and that's what we can trust.
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God... I John 3:1
What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. (Same verse in the Message Bible)
Sometimes I think about words and adjectives, verbs and nouns. When I think about them regarding His love, I feel like our language is so inadequate and lacking. How could you describe God's love? Or sometimes when I want to praise Him, I can't find the right words. I believe we are going to learn so many new words in heaven. But here on earth, He deserves so much more than we can give Him. But just like a good Father, He wants to give to us, and shower and pour out on us, even more than He wants to receive. I'm sure He loves to receive our worship. But real love can't help itself, but give.
It loves to give! Love has to give! Love is creative, because it is loving. I remember building a 2 story wooden dollhouse for my girl when she was 5yr. old. It was Christmas time. I would stay up late at night, when the kids went to sleep and work on it, glueing the pieces together so carefully. Then a few days later, I was painting it pink and white. I had more fun! Because I was anticipating the look on her face. I so wanted to please her and make her happy. You see love gives, doesn't hold back. Love is not stingy. The joy of loving someone makes you so creative, that you plan and devise ways of surprising someone, just because you want to see them smile and be happy. God is like this, but multiply it by a million. Only not really, it's more like infinity and beyond!! The Father sees each one of us. He is hoping that more will come and see Him as He really is. God is Love.
When you go leisurely hiking up in the Sierra mountains and discover the delicate and intricate wild flowers, this is one way to see how delicate and tender His love is for you. But just as it is delicate, it is also as strong as the wild, untamed blue ocean waves. His love is strong. and yet it is tender. He knows every tear, every hurt that we suffer with. His love sustains us, heals and protects, shielding us from evil.
But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works. Ps 73:28.
Don't be afraid to let His love overtake you. For when it does, it will seep and soak through your heart, and humble you forever. You will see His greatness and majesty in His love for you. It will cause you to shine. The are others out there waiting for you. Waiting for that lovely face to shine and to show them that they matter to God. They are needing to hear the poem as well, 'He loves me, He loves me, He loves me...
We serve a God who is invisible and lives in eternity. Yet He is all around us. God sits on His throne in heaven, in eternity. Jesus sits on the right hand side of God. It is the Holy Spirit who is here on the earth. His Spirit is everywhere, surrounding this earth. I believe this because I see it in the Word of God. There is no where that I can go from His presence. I can try to run away from Him, but that is futile, for where ever I am, there He is. It's not that He catches up to me, but that He is already there. And yet many of us think that because we don't see Him, that means He's not there.
Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
Isaiah 66:1 says, that heaven is God's
throne and the earth is His foot stool. Some foot stool, or even better, wow, some foot! Ps. 50:12 speaks of how the whole world is His and the fullness there of. It belongs to Him, because He made it. Why shouldn't He be able to go where ever He pleases? Ps. 46:1 states that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. That reminds me of different cases where children where trapped in different dangerous places, and found unharmed and alive. There are many angels of God involved there, but it's because of the fact that God is a very present help in trouble.
With so many scriptures stated, and much more that give proof, why do we think that because we don't see Him, He isn't there? Or sometimes when you feel lonely or sad, you totally believe that God has left you and doesn't love you anymore. Those kind of thoughts come from either a lack of knowledge or the other side, which is the enemy. And His home is in the pit of hell for sure. Yes, we do serve an invisible God who is a good Father who loves us always. And that's why we need faith. If you saw Him, you wouldn't need faith. The disciples were with Jesus. But when He wasn't there or when He was sleeping on the boat, and they thought He wasn't helping them, they stopped believing. Thomas didn't see Jesus at the end like the others, and so He stopped believing. He wanted to see Jesus for himself in order to believe. Jesus told Thomas that blessed are those that didn't see but still believed.
Ps. 34:15 The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
Ps. 114:7 Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord...
It is God's Spirit that is on the earth now. For believers, He is leading, teaching, guiding, comforting and so much more. And for unbelievers, He is convicting them that they need to repent and believe in Jesus (Jn. 16:8-9). If the Word tells us to come before His presence with thanksgiving (Ps.95) or to come before His presence with singing (Ps. 100:2), that must mean that we can come right into His presence. So when you sing to Him, you are in His presence and He is listening to you.
God doesn't sleep. Do you know that He watches you when you sleep? You get tired and sleep, and He doesn't get tired and stays up to watch that you are safe. Read it, an awesome little psalm speaks of it Psalm 121. You that have had babies, don't you like to watch them sleep? Don't you like to check on them and make sure they are safe? Why is God any different? Especially when you realize that we are made in His image, after His likeness.
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
As believers in the blood of Jesus Christ, we know that the difference in coming near to God's presence is that we come not in our own self, merits, achievements or works that we have accomplished. We come before the God of heaven who is God Almighty "In Christ," covered by His blood and His work of the cross. A humbling thought indeed. Who are we by our selves to strut up to Creator of the universe? We must always come by the grace of Jesus and "In Christ." Jesus is the one who made the bridge and the way to the Father. We were far, but now we are nigh, which means near.
So no matter where we are, whether it's stranded on a lonely, deserted island somewhere in the tropics, or climbing a mountain somewhere in the Sierras, you are not alone. The presence of the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of God, who is one with Jesus, and one with the Father, is all around you and in you. Above, beneath, behind and before you. You are covered and He will never let you go. He paid too high of a price for you to just let you go. He will never forsake or abandon you. He is your Father for keeps.
How perfectly secure we should be in that lovely thought that is so true. It should cause us to sleep, just like a baby.
Things happen. Life happens, and it rains on the just and the unjust. God loves this man even before he was born. But how does this man see himself right now? Does he think "This is what I am, a bum. This is what I have become. And I will be this way the rest of my days."
How do you see yourself? Is it the way God sees you? What is the movie that plays on the daily screen of your life? Do you believe the way you are is result of the fact that you can see it physically with your own two eyes? Does the homeless man say "Look at me. Look at my ragged clothes. This is all I've got. What you see is what you get. So I might as well fit the bill. I might as well drink what I can get my hands on?"
We can look at our checkbook and see the minuses, surmising these facts to be real and final. Or we can dare to look at the real truth of God's Word.
And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places." Isaiah 32:18
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him which is the head of all principality and power. Col. 2:9-10
If we believe only what we see, then what do scriptures like these two above mean and who are they really for? Are they really for us?
We have to ask ourselves these questions. There is a higher truth that trumps the one we see and that is the Word of God.
Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
Can we stretch ourselves to simply believe what the wisest one who made us says about us? We can and we must if we are desiring change in our lives. Jesus said "Nothing is impossible with God." He said, "Only believe."
Christ did the work, because we were unable to. It was a real work, that was a success, not a failure.
By the way that we think sometimes, you would have thought it was a failure. Remember, faith is not for rocket scientists. It's for children. We are God's children. We need to stop making it so hard to understand.
We choose to see the good work He has done in us. We choose to ignore what is on the outside and in the physical that we see. We say "Yes," to His vision for us. It doesn't matter how we get there. That is His problem. That's His work, so He has the details. We just believe and see it each day in our soul, in our hearts. No struggling, no stress just rest. Choose to rest only in His Word for you. See those words as pictures. You see the old as pictures, so why not see the new as pictures. Look at the picture on the left above. That represents the old, the limitations, sickness, poverty, hopelessness. Now look at the right, focus there. This picture represents hope, love, no limitations, health, provision, contentment, security and relationship with the Father. All of this has been provided through Jesus Christ. We keep looking at this picture of ourself in Him. Think it, feel it, thank God for it. Don't look at time, for that will trip you up. Keep looking at Jesus and His Word, His promises.
No stress, just rest...
We are already wired this way. God saw to it when He made us. We see in pictures, we think in pictures. Some scientists that have explored the brain, explain that as we think, it's like a picture dictionary. We may see and read words, but really as we do, we are seeing them as pictures. It depends on what we put into this fascinating computer of ours what comes out. To think that the scenes that will be played out in this journey called our lifetime all depends on our continuing input of thoughts, is an amazing concept.
Just as the dollar bill is not bad, it's just currency exchange. But it all depends on how you use it. You can even worship it, and use it for evil or use it for good, in God's kingdom. Thoughts are the same. They are the framework for us, for our lives. They can be evil or good. And so as we accept them and input them into our minds, our very own computers, good or bad, we will create that blueprint and that blueprint will bring the end result.
It's also interesting how we can learn from the mistakes and the stories of the wicked in the Bible. We can learn from these. We can look at their lives and how they did things and know that if it was done in the negative, it can be done in the positive. Studying and finding the scriptures about some of these negative thoughts, has been an eye opener, and can tell us a lot of what we need to know in order to do the opposite. If it worked in the negative, then it can and will work in the positive.
Isaiah 59:7 Their feet run to evil and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.
As we begin to dissect this telling verse in order to meditate on it, we can see several important clues.
Remember that it all starts with thoughts and pictures in the imagination. The actions whether they be evil or good, are really the last thing to happen, not the first. You don't rob a store in a split second for no reason. You first have had to take the time to consider and devise a plan. Looking to the verse above, the reason that their feet run to evil and make haste to shed innocent blood is due to their thoughts. It's says that their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity. They are not sitting under a tree singing 'Kum bah Yah.' They are busy hating and conniving mischief. What you dwell on becomes a comfort zone. If you dwell on worry daily, continually, it will become a twisted comfort zone. But the good thing is that you can change this. It will take some effort on your part, and I can say from experience, at times there will be a fight in your head. But you just keep coming back to thinking on the good thoughts of God's Word.
Like this one:
Isaiah 26:3-4 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength...
The word 'mind' here is the Hebrew word 'Yetser' which speaks of the imagination, and means also conception, framework. When you are meditating, you are building something. You are building a framework. For what? For the future of your life. Isaiah says to keep your mind stayed on God. Jesus also is God, so you can picture Jesus. Stay there, and dwell on seeing His face. He will keep you in His perfect peace. You do this because you trust Him. This is how I meditate. And you can learn to do this as well.
Did you ever hear a song and the words whether they were bad or good stayed in your head? You just couldn’t get them out of your head. This has happened to me too. The only way I finally found was to replace it with another song. Or sometimes I would even change the words to something that made me happy instead of pulling me down. Words have such an effect on us, whether we are aware of it or not. You just can't say, ‘Oh that won’t happen to me. I won’t let it. I won’t let the words affect me, I can handle it.”
Words are seeds which are planted into our minds as thoughts. It can be by a bill board that you quickly drive pass and with a swift glance the thought can be planted. You can dismiss it. But let’s say it makes quite an impression on you to the point that you think on it later. The billboard pic could have been on anything. From liquor to a tropical vacation or a local dinner buffet. And when you lay your head down on the pillow, the picture comes back to you, and you begin to think and dwell on it. Let’s just pick a vacation for the example. The next morning you tell your mate, ‘You know, I think we need a vacation. We should start talking about it.’ The next week the thought comes back again and the next thing you know you are searching for places to go. Words and pictures are seeds.
Mark 4:14 The sower soweth the word.
This is speaking of God’s Word. And the fertile ground is speaking of our hearts. But the planting comes via through the imagination of our thoughts and minds. We water as we continually dwell on those particular thoughts. The thoughts can be evil or good. It doesn’t matter. And once the seeds break open and take root, they begin to grow. The plant grows steadily, so the fruit that is created will come as words out of your mouth. You will have a harvest. When the fruit of your lips is created and comes out of your mouth as words, it won’t be long until the action of those words will follow. It’s inevitable. This subject just fascinates me to no end. Most of us have no idea how powerful our thoughts and words are. But God knows, because He made us this way. An evil person that is speaking and having actions of evil will be having those type of thoughts as well. The Bible speaks of this. And a person who is the opposite, living and walking in the love of God is one who has trained their mind to think of God's thoughts. We can change our actions by our thoughts.
The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. Ps. 10:4
And yet the opposite case is also true.
The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit. Prov 12:5
Even though a person accepts Jesus in their heart, their mind and their thoughts need to change. And that is one thing that God cannot and will not do for you. You must renew your mind and change your thoughts. (Rom 12:1-3) If that were so, we would see such a dramatic change in believers. God gave us our own mind, will and emotions to choose Him freely, to love Him freely or not. To think on Him freely and on His Word, or not. It's up to us. He cannot and will not do that for us, because it's our mind, and we only have been given one. He sets the table before us, the feast of His incredible Word, full of mysteries and wisdom. But it's up to us, to get our shiny silverware out and scoot up to the table, wrap that napkin around our neck and start eating. We eat by thinking and chewing and speaking His lovely Word. 'Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life...' We must discipline our self to think and dwell on His Word. Before long it creates a habit and a comfort zone to which we cannot do without it. And we find ourselves changing from the inside out. It is really quite ingenious of God the Father to think of such a thing for us humans. And I am committed to teaching about this to inmates who really need some thought changing. I am excited to teach others what God has shown and taught me on the subject as well. We are a spirit that is one with God, if we are a believer, and we have a mind that is to be full of God's Word, and as a result it constantly comes out of our mouths, and then our body will soon follow into action that matches our thoughts and words. God is so brilliant!
Discovering real life